Paramhansa Yogananda

I didn’t know there was so much joy and fun in having birthday. It is because of your joy I enjoy so much.

Words are inadequate to express what I feel. I remember when I went to India in 1935 and ’36, I remembered what Jesus said and why He said: “Who is my father, who is my mother, sister and brother but he who loves God?” And with great awe I felt all those of you whose lives I have lived, each one of you. And the joy of your spiritual growth had been so impinged in my consciousness that I felt my real brothers and sisters are those who love God.

Parents are given to us by God, and the real Father is God, and the real Mother is God, and real brothers and sisters are those who love God.

Yogananda in India

So I remember that feeling, that indescribable feeling in India, and all those of you who have lived up to my ideals and whose lives I have lived in myself. I know each of you and I know that you haven’t deceived me in any way, you couldn’t if you tried. But I was within you. And I never have deceived any of you in words, speech or mind. That’s why the God in us became manifest and we realise the joy of living in a spiritual family where God is the Father and the Mother and we are His children.

So this birthday is very significant to me.

Yogananda and his Guru-preceptor Swami Sri Yukteswar

Though my body was born in the womb of a very divine mother, I was born in your hearts, through the heart of God.

I never dreamt that such a fellow feeling would be possible and it is because you have lived up to the ideals that I have cherished: the ideals which I cherished and lived for in the company of my great Guru-preceptor.

“For it is God who comes as the father and the mother…”

So I am very very fortunate to realise in this world that, though loving my relatives truly and not limiting my love to them, I realised the greater love of God. For it is God who comes as the father and the mother and the brother and the sister, the husband and the wife and the children.

We must not stop there. Why is it that two people they marry, they have children, they have a family then they are thrown apart? To grow the Divine Love.

And we must not stop there. We must invest that Love in the world.

Yogananda and his most advanced disciple Rajarshi Janakananda

When we can make others our own; and you can’t make others your own by any form of diplomacy. It is by the sincerity of your heart. Because you know relatives are imposed upon us and we have to keep them if they are bad, but our spiritual relatives we can choose. And love and friendship can be only received as gifts. God comes to us as relatives to test us, but He comes to us as friends to give Himself unto us. For in friendship, wherein we elect each other by the gift of the free choice of our hearts, we find the glory of God manifest.

From a speech given by the Master on the occasion of his birthday, January 5, 1949.

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